The Dangers of Salmonella in Pet Food
Several pet food recalls, caused by salmonella contamination, have been in the news lately. It’s important to know, more than contaminated pet foods can expose dogs and cats to Salmonella. Other animals shedding Salmonella in their feces can put your pet at risk. They can also get the disease from contaminated human foods we give our pets, such as raw meats and eggs.
Salmonella can also spread from animals to people. It can be passed along by direct or indirect contact. Pregnant women, young children and those with compromised immune systems (cancer patients, AIDS patients, chronically diseased) are at a higher risk of catching the intestinal bacteria.
People may experience a sudden onset of watery or mucusy diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and lethargy. Most dogs and cats do not get sick when exposed, but they can shed the Salmonella organisms in the feces for three to six weeks or longer. The feces can act as a source of exposure to other pets or people. Dogs, for example, may show signs of diarrhea, vomiting, fever and pain.
Specific antibiotics can treat a diagnosed Salmonella infection. The main concern is that certain subspecies of Salmonella can make some pets and people very sick. Some people have even died from Salmonella infection.
How to protect your entire family:
- Pets with known infections should be isolated from other pets and family members.
- Practice good hygiene for both your family and pets.
- Encourage family members to wash exposed areas of skin after petting and playing with pets.
- Pet’s feeding dishes and cages should be kept out of food preparation areas.
Visit your family medical practitioner for any health questions about your human family. Contact your local Banfield Pet Hospital immediately if you have any concerns about your pet’s health. You can also find more in our Pet Health section.